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In the world of non-surgical and surgical beauty procedures, bruises are pretty common. Wikipedia defines a bruise as a a type of hematoma of tissue in which capillaries and sometimes venues are damaged by trauma, allowing blood to seep, hemorrhage, or extravasate into the surrounding interstitial tissues. Basically, a bruise gives the skin a temporary blue, black or purple color which then changes to a greenish tint and finally yellow as the body absorbs and then gets rid of this collection of blood cells in the tissues.
I had questions and turned to San Jose, CA-based, board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kamakshi Zeidler, who was more than happy to share her expertise:
What causes a bruise?
- Bruising is usually a result of trauma. When the tissue gets hit by pressure, it often results in the breakage of many tiny blood vessels causing a small amount of bleeding into the tissues.
- Bruising can also occur as a result of a needle puncture whether it be from IVs placed into a blood vessel, a needle used to draw blood, or needles used for facial injectable treatments such as Botox or fillers. When a needle in placed directly into a blood vessel, it can sometimes lead to a small amount of blood leaking out of the vessel and into the surrounding tissue.
- When it comes to facial injectable treatments, the needle can sometimes hit a small vein in areas around the eyes and mouth where there are a lot of small blood vessels.
- Surgery can also cause bruising due to a scalpel or surgical cautery device cutting across blood vessels. There are many things surgeons do before, during and after surgery to minimize bruising because limiting bruising or minimizing blood in the tissues not only helps patients look better and recover sooner, but also leads to better results.
Why do some people bruise more than others?
In the world of bruising, all people are not created equal. Dr. Zeidler explains “genetics play a big role in one’s propensity to bruise and healing time varies from person to person as well, due to the quality of each patient’s skin and the elasticity of the tissues around an individual’s blood vessels.”
What can a patient or doctor do to prevent bruising and speed up the healing process?
Communication between patient and doctor is not only the key to getting the aesthetic results you’re after but can also play a role in minimizing bruises. Two weeks prior to a procedure, Zeidler has her patients avoid any prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as any supplements that are known to increase bleeding which in turn can increase bruising. Innocuous-seeming things like fish oils, vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, aspirin and Advil can all affect your outcome. If you’re unsure about it, talk to your doctor.
When it comes to circumventing and shortening the duration time of a bruise there are numerous things that both you and your doctor can do. In fact, ice and cooling measures can greatly decrease bruising. Dr. Zeidler will often pretreat injected areas with icing to temporarily shrink the size of blood vessels so they are less likely to be injured from a needle poke. Post procedure, patients are also sent out with ice packs to continue the cooling process so that any vessels that may have been punctured stay constricted so bruising is as minimal as possible. After facial surgery, Zeidler’s office uses special cooling masks to circulate cool fluid over the face.
If significant bruising does happen in spite of all this pre and post procedure prevention, Dr. Zeidler has been known to spot treat bruises with a broad band light laser so that they disappear within 24 hours.